Accreditation Announcement >>

Skip to main content



What is the difference between a PhD and a DNP?


  • Prepares nurse scientists to conduct research, develop the scholarship needed to advance the body of nursing knowledge, guide the practice of nursing, assume leadership in nursing and health care organizations, and participate in the development of social and health policy
  • Curricular Content –
    • Methods and theories used to guide research
    • Grant writing skills
    • Technology used in research
    • Statistical & other analytical methods
    • Research traditions & methodologies
    • Faculty role development
    • Cognate areas of interest to guide research
  • Clinical Requirements – No
  • Research Requirements - Faculty guided research residency hours working on an established research project(s) to hone selected research skills
  • Final Product - Original research project that makes a significant contribution to the science of nursing
  • Types of Jobs:
    • Academic faculty position which includes research, education, and service roles
    • Research Scientist for healthcare organizations, industry or government agencies
    • Principal Investigator on extramural research grants
    • Leadership positions in health organizations, industry and government agencies
    • Government advisor on health policy



  • Purpose - Prepares expert clinical scholars to perform direct clinical practice, translate, disseminate and integrate evidence-based research into clinical practice and improve quality of health outcomes for individuals, populations and systems.
  • Curricular Content:
    • Advanced clinical practice
    • Clinical scholarship skills
    • Technology used in practice
    • Analysis of clinical outcomes
    • Evidence-based practice
    • Leadership role development
    • Rural and underserved populations
  • Clinical Requirements - No
  • Research Requirements – No
  • Final Product – Project based
  • Types of Jobs:
    • APRN in a variety of healthcare settings
    • Academic faculty position which includes practice, education, and service roles
    • Leadership positions in health care organizations, industry, government agencies
    • Evidence-based Practice Coordinator
    • Outcomes Manager
    • Magnet Coordinator
    • Quality Improvement Director

How many are accepted to the PhD program at Penn Nursing?

Approximately 6-12 applicants are accepted each year.

How can I get more information on the research faculty are doing for my application?

Please find our faculty’s research interests here.

Can I reach out to faculty for more information?

Yes, you are encouraged to reach out to faculty who align with your research interests and may be a good mentor during your PhD program. The PhD application is about looking at faculty’s research interests and how they align with yours. In your application, you should highlight these connections.

Is there a clinical component?

Is there an admissions interview?

Competitive applicants will be invited to interview.

When does the PhD program start?

The PhD program starts in the fall semester, and it typically takes 3-5 years to complete the program.

When is the deadline to apply?

Please find all application deadlines here.

If I am an international applicant with an international RN license, can I still apply to the PhD program?

Yes, you may apply to the PhD program with an international RN license. The license must be valid at time of application.